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Matthew
6:1-4

 
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
 
"Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."  (ESV)
God's Unique Love
Tuesday of Easter 6
3 May 2016
God's kingdom is the people who live in God's life. The giving of gifts of love is God's way of life. When we say that God is love we are not saying that God has a "warm fuzzy feeling" in His heart for us. We are saying that He acts decisively by giving Himself to us in the incarnation of Christ our Lord of the virgin Mary.
 
To be God is to be giving. He gives Himself to us not for our accolades, for what does God need from us (Ps 50:10)? He does not need our honor to sustain His divine life. He has no need to "feel better about himself." No, God gives the most precious gift to us without our appreciation. He gives His Son into death for us while we were yet sinners and enemies of God (Rm 5:8-10). God does nothing for His own sake. The whole divine life is directed to the need of the other. This is love: to be for the other. This is God's life; being in love. Since this is God's being, then we too should reflect the divine life by giving ourselves for God's sake for the need of one another. God's life is that we should love one another as He has loved us.
 
God's love is unique. Not merely unique to us, but unique to Him. By unique I mean that He is single-minded in His love for sinners like us. His love is self-generated. He never finds us worthy of it, and never could. What this means is that His nature as love (1Jn 4:8) always comes directly from Him and because it is His, it never changes, flags or declines, like our love always does. His heart is single, united in its passionate desire to save us. He gives Himself to us, fully and completely.

 

Martin Luther

"Christ intends to teach about the right way of giving alms, and He says: 'When you give alms, do not have a trumpet sounded or a loud shout raised before you, so that a whole city has to know about it and talk about it. (So it is among us, when a charitable contribution is being made and all the bells have to be rung.) But when you give alms, do it in such a way that your left hand does not know what your right hand is doing (Mt 6:1-3). This is the self-same thing that St. Paul says in Romans 12:8 and elsewhere (2Co 9:7): 'He who contributes, let him do it with singleness.' But 'contributing with singleness' means that by making the contribution one does not seek his own glory or popularity, gratitude or reward, and is not concerned about whether any human being is grateful or not. But he contributes freely what he wants to contribute, just the way God grants His gifts every day and causes His sun to shine, regardless of the thankful or the unthankful, just as if He did not see anybody. A heart is truly single in its motivation if it neither seeks nor desires nor looks at anything except the will of God and the glory of God."

Martin Luther,  Sermon on the Sermon on the Mount, 6.4
 
Prayer
Lord, You have given Yourself for me without counting the cost. Let me give myself that I too might love without counting the cost. Amen.
 
For our catechumens, that they might confess their faith before men, that Christ their Lord might confess them before His Father in heaven
 
For Pr. Marvin Donaire of the Lutheran Church of Nicaragua, that Christ our Lord would grant him success in the mission of preaching Christ
 
For the families of Memorial Lutheran School that do not yet know Christ as their Savior who gave Himself for them, that they would learn of the love of Christ from us
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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